“When the earth is ravaged and the animals are dying, a new tribe of people shall come unto the earth from many colors, classes, creeds and who by their actions and deeds shall make the earth green again. They will be known as the warriors of the rainbow.” Native American Prophecy
It was a perfect sunny morning. Puffy white clouds decorated the bluest sky and the hills were definitely alive! We set off on a hike to the Rainbow Gathering about 30 minutes from Kheer Ganga. It was, ummmm, totally gorgeous. . .
We probably took longer than 30 minutes to do the hike because we had our packs, there were too many good views to marinate in, and the incline/altitude made it a bit tricky for everyone. Snow capped mountains were almost within reach, herds of sheep and goats roamed on their luscious salad buffet meadows, and the energy of the Himalayas settled into all of our souls. Slowly, slowly. . .we made our way Home.
I love how nature adapts. These goats with their majestic, long hair and magical horns. . .wow, huh?! I never got tired of seeing them roam around the hills, listening to their funny sounds echo through the valleys. They all have such different voices. It’s almost like you can tell their personality by the sound they make.
The Rainbow Gathering had about 70 people already camping when we arrived. People from Russia, Canada, Spain, USA, India, Germany, England, Ireland, Israel, Ecuador, Belarus, Netherlands, and many more places. . .gathered in this beautiful meadow and shared community duties, hosted workshops, cooked communal meals, made art, went hiking, played music. . .connecting and reflecting about this giant, yet so small, world we live in.
We scored a sweet spot next to a wonderfully, huge rock. It was our wilderness abode for two weeks and it served us very well.
Days in the mountains went slow. We created a morning space by our groovy rock and a different crowd came every morning for chai and biscuits, and of course, boundless good conversation. In the afternoons, the shepherds came through our meadow so their flocks could graze. It was like a tsunami of pungent aroma that overtook our city of tents and it was awesome!
None of the animals seemed to mind me hanging out while they ate around me. Some of the goats gave us a really good show, too. They loved our special rock and climbed all over it. It was damn good nature TV, people. Go to the mountains, wherever you are. I promise you will find magic if you look for it.
There was also heaps of cows. No surprise, though, considering this is India and cows have a way of infiltrating every inch of the Mother land. Unlike the afternoon wave of goats and sheep, the cows were just around all day long. Amit carved a special stick for our camp so we could practice our Krishna skills. . .aka. . .cow herding. If you let the cows graze too long near your tent, you might get an unwanted cow pie or piss puddle, and well, I wasn’t into that much Nature TV. Let’s get real.
Loud grunts and strange noises came out of any person with the special stick. It wasn’t long before the cows got familiar and knew to move along. Several surrounding tents, however, didn’t have such savvy tenants and got robbed or peed on. The cows in India are quite ambitious, too, and will even try to inhale your one of a kind Pashmina. They have no shame!
Nights at the Rainbow Gathering begin with a communal gathering for dinner. We hold hands, sing silly songs, and ohm like we mean it. Afterwards, any announcements are made and then music around the main fire goes into the wee hours of the night. It sounds a bit, you know, bliss-ninny’ish, but singing those songs with people from all over the world does something to your heart. I swear. We had tons of Indian tourists visiting the hot springs in Kheer Ganga who came over to see what the Rainbow Gathering was about and a lot of them were supercharged by our dinner ritual.
A few days into the gathering, one of my dearest friends, Raj, arrived to join in on the mystical mountain experience. He had never been to this part of his own country or spent much time camping in the mountains, or in general, and he found our camp with a hypnotized look on his face. . .freshly mesmerized and shocked by the massive beauty present all around us, and probably exhausted from the insane hike up.
We made lots of new friends. . .shared hugs, visits to the hot springs, evening dances under the starry sky. . .
I think it was the cleanest I’ve ever been while camping. Visits to the hot springs were so nice. Rejuvenating soaks, clean clothes, and an awesome hike every single time. Himalayan living treated us well. Now I see why Shiva stuck around for 3000 years.
One of the coolest encounters on the mountain was with an old shepherd. She didn’t see the point in discussing her name, but she told us stories of the cows, the plants, and her two daughters who are married to foreigners. She would hang at our camp while she was wandering the hills and we happily fed her biscuits and snacks in trade for her company. I have no idea how old she was, but the wrinkles on her face reminded me of the lines on a road map, and those highways had stories you couldn’t dare to dream.
The days melted away and the Himalayas took its’ toll. Dry skin, sunburned noses, sore feet, sore muscles from the endless hills in every direction. . .but we never stopped having fun, laughing with the global community, and sharing love with our family. . .
No matter where you are in the world. . .if you want a new experience, to meet different kinds of people, to indulge in beautiful nature. . .go find a Rainbow Gathering. They happen all over the world and you can find whatever journey you might need at this very moment in life. It’s that kind of magic. It’s that kind of goodness. And it’s just waiting for YOU to find it!
Loving you, family! Thanks for the hugs, the laughs, the tears, the memories.